21 Samsung 990 Pro SSDs were used to create the world’s fastest storage device, and it topped 28.7GB/s

Apex Storage X21
(Image credit: Sabrent)

The Apex Storage X21 – a 21 SSD-capacity add-in-card (AIC) that storage specialist Apex revealed back in March 2023 – has acheived blistering speeds of 28.7GB/s in testing.

Geared towards professionals and prosumers, this staggering piece of hardware is powered with a HighPoint SSD7540 PCIe Gen4 x16 RAID card – and has enough space to fit nearly two dozen 16TB SSDs. This amounts to a 336TB capacity in total. 

Better yet, its performance has come within touching distance of Apex’s staggering claims of 30.5GB/s sequential read and 28.5GB/s sequential write speeds in a real-world setting. 

"Beast" mode

Storage Review fitted 21 Samsung 990 Pro SSDs into the Apex Storage X21 to hit 27.4GB/s 8K random reads with 3.454M IOPS throughput and 28.7GB/s 8K random writes 3.499M IOPS throughput. All SSDs were formatted and then completely filled when tested. 

These results were one of many recorded when the Apex Storage X21 was fitted with a combination of various SSDs on the market right now – including Samsung 980 Pros and Solidigm P41 Plus units. However, the X21 is compatible with a variety of the best SSDs.

The publication described this piece of hardware as a “beast”, boasting incredible bandwidth figures and offering massive throughput for end users. 

It’s certainly the fastest AIC in the world at the moment, nipping ahead of the OWC Accelsior 8M2, which held the record in 2021 with speeds of up to 26GB/s, according to WCCF Tech.

We estimated when it was first announced that a maxed-out Apex Storage X21, fitted with 21 16TB SSDs, would cost roughly $45,000 – double that if you’re seeking to pair two together in a RAID-0 setup. The unit itself will cost an estimated $3,000 on its own.

But having so much storage capacity is almost certainly overkill unless you absolutely need, say, that much space to manage and transfer a monumental amount of video files – and taking advantage of a massive level of throughput is a priority.

With up to 21 SSDs in a single AIC, too, you heighten the chances of something possibly going wrong, with 21 possible points of failure.

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Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Channel Editor (Technology), Live Science

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is the Technology Editor for Live Science. He has written for a variety of publications including ITPro, The Week Digital and ComputerActive. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, having previously held the role of features editor with ITPro. In his previous role, he oversaw the commissioning and publishing of long form in areas including AI, cyber security, cloud computing and digital transformation.